Academics Overview

To earn your Master of Social Work (MSW), you will complete live, online classes, engaging coursework, and field placements at clinical sites in or near your community.

You will begin the program with generalist courses, covering topics such as racism and oppression, human behavior, and assessment and diagnosis. Once you’ve completed generalist courses, you will start the specialized curriculum. Additionally, you will have the option to choose a specialized course of study or pursue a certificate program.

We offer accelerated, full-time, and extended (part-time) program tracks.

Learn more about the program’s courses. 

Certificate Programs

Simmons offers three certificate program options within the online MSW program. Each certificate will allow you to develop expertise in a specific area of practice through a structured course sequence.

As a student in a certificate program, you will complete four courses specific to your certificate in addition to all MSW requirements.

You can choose from the following certificate programs:

  • Practice With Groups & Families
  • Mental Health Practice
  • Trauma Practice

To pursue a certificate, you must apply to the certificate program as you apply to the MSW program. By earning a certificate with your MSW, you will graduate prepared to pursue careers in your area of interest.

Learn more about certificate programs.

Specialized Courses of Study

If you are not in a certificate program, you may choose one of four specialized courses of study once you reach the advanced curriculum stage of the program. The specialized course of study will allow you to take electives in a particular area of social work. Your options to specialize include the following:

  • Trauma and Interpersonal Violence
  • Child and Family
  • Mental Health and Addictions
  • Health and Aging

You can also choose the individualized course of study, which allows you to select advanced courses based on your interests and career goals.

Learn more about the specialized courses of study.

Field Education

As a student in the MSW program, you will complete two immersive field education experiences that allow you to develop the skills and confidence to become a professional social worker.

The first placement provides a foundation in generalist social work practice. Full-time and accelerated students will complete this requirement in a community site for two consecutive terms. Extended program students starting in the September 2019 cohort will complete this requirement through one term in the Virtual Field Lab (VFL) and one term at a community site. Once in the specialized level, all students complete their field education requirement in an agency.

The specialized placement will be completed at the same community site where students complete the second term of the generalist experience.

When you are ready to move into the community setting, our field placement team will work closely with you to find a clinical placement in or near your community.

Learn more about field education.